All of PatrickDFarley's Comments + Replies

Fun to do with names. Patrick - English version of a Latin name, Patricius, which means "noble", referring to the Roman nobility, which was originally composed of the paterfamiliae, the heads of large families. From pater (father), which is Latin but goes back to proto-indo-european. From proto-indo-european pah which means "to protect/shepherd"

Is this an epistemology?

I have experiences, and some interpretations of those experiences allow me to predict future experiences.

I didn't say it was the answer to everything. The original phrasing was "more truthful."

1TAG1y
The implication was that you already have an epistemology capable of judging any other.

These are tautologies. What is the point you're getting at?

1TAG1y
"Predictive power" isn't the answer to everything . For tautologous reasons. (Whatever problem tautologies have, it isn't lack of truth).

What would it mean for rationality to be "objectively better"? It depends what the objective is. If your objective is "predictive power," then by some definitions you are already a rationalist. 

Is your issue that predictive power isn't a good objective, or that there are better methods for prediction than those discussed on this site?

If there existed a paradigm that is more truthful than 'rationality' as you have been taught it, how would you even know?

Easy. Predictive power.

It seems like you have strong feelings about rationality without actually knowing what that word means here

2TAG1y
If Bay Area rationality is basically correct, it can recognise improved versions of itself. Corollary: If it isn't basically correct, it can't necessarily recognise some better epistemology. Moral: It takes an epistemology to judge an epistemology.
1ZT51y
Explain why not all humans are rationalists, then. If the paradigm of rationality has more predictive power than their paradigms. Explain how it feels from inside, for humans, to look at rationality and fail to update, despite rationality being objectively better.

I really like that last bit about chronological cycles of increasing S-level to "win against" the current level, until physical reality smacks us in the face and we reset. Let me try something:

  • (Physically) Hard times create S1 men; S1 men create (physically) good times.
  • (Physically) Good times create S2 men (because there's free alpha in manipulating S1); S2 men create (socially) hard times (because now you don't know whom to trust about S1 issues)
  • (Socially) hard times create S3 men (because tribalism builds/confirms social trust); S3 men create (socially)
... (read more)

I'm gonna be lazy and say:

If it comes up tails, you get nothing.

If that ^ is a given premise in this hypothetical, then we know for certain it is not a simulation (because in a simulation, after tails, you'd get something). Therefore the probability of receiving a lollipop here is 0 (unless you receive one for a completely unrelated reason)

1sisyphus1y
Sorry but I think you may have misunderstood the question since your answer doesn't make any sense to me. The main problem I was puzzled about was whether or not the odds of getting a lollipop are 1:1 (as is the probability of the fair coin coming up heads) or 1001:1 (whether or not the simulations affect the self-location uncertainty). As shiminux said it is similar to the sleeping beauty problem where self-location uncertainty is at play.

The next step will be to write a shell app that takes your prompt, gets the gpt response, and uses gpt to check whether the response was a "graceful refusal" response, and if so, it embeds your original prompt into one of these loophole formats, and tries again, until it gets a "not graceful refusal" response, which it then returns back to you. So the user experience is a bot with no content filters.

EY is right, these safety features are trivial

certain number of heads

Do you mean "certain number of wins"? Number of heads is independent of their guesses, and number of correctly-guessed heads is asking a different question than the original experiment

2DirectedEvolution1y
Yes, I meant certain number of wins. Good catch. Also, I think the study actually did offer enough money to be motivating, and given that the average payout was $91 and 28% of people went bust, I'm updating based on that study to think people are really bad at betting. Although I think that using "escape from discomfort" as motivator would be better than small token payouts, this study's reward is probably more motivating and a better way to study the topic than the one I proposed.

I was going to say that this week marks the end of the Covid posts being majority Covid content.

My ideal future has Zvi posting nationally renowned journalism on all manner of current events, but all articles have the title "Covid <date>: <tagline>" and only the real fans remember why.

now that the masks are mostly gone except for the subway.

I see only about 60% mask compliance in the NYC subway now. I've been maskless myself in the subway for months - doing my part in the preference cascade

Related theory is that they're planning for a more dangerous disease to be released in the future, either accidentally or on purpose, and they feel the need to perfect their zero-[disease] protocol now. They can't accept a superficial failure with covid because that means accepting a critical failure with the next thing, especially if they're not so good at making vaccines.

1Yitz2y
Why the heck would they want to do that, considering how much COVID is clearly costing them? I don’t see any rational actor looking at the situation and being like “what we need right now to invigorate the economy is a more deadly virus”…

Paschal's targeted advertising: How can you be against targeted ads when they're showing you deals that have positive EV for you?

  1. There's an attention cost with evaluating whether the deal is in fact positive EV. And effective ads will mostly have a higher attention cost - There's a "valley of difficult choices" where the EV is close to zero. Most ads you see are to the left of the valley: strongly negative-EV deals that you don't really consider. But more effective targeted ads will move the needle to the right on average, forcing you to pay more attention
... (read more)

Did I manage to actually convey something meaningful to you or did I just wordcel 5,000 nice-sounding words together? How would you be sure?

I think you can actually judge that by the value/effort balance of the communication.

I see a kind of spectrum between teaching and.. let's call it meditation (as in "meditate on X"), where both can convey meaningful ideas and concepts, but the latter takes much more effort to get anything useful, and yields more random results.

With teaching, I'm probably getting all the intended ideas on my first interpretation, and th... (read more)

Option two is to point out that they’re talking sense now and acting compatibly with life, and one could not reasonably ask for more than that.

I’m mostly in the second camp. The penalty for being late should not be death, so go and sin no more.

Not sure I agree but I'll have to think about it more.

Simulacrum-2 doesn't mean "saying false things" - sometimes S2 says true things. When you discover that someone's lied to you, do you shame them for saying the false thing, or do you shame them for being on S2 toward you? The latter is a kind of meta-lie tha... (read more)

Agreed and, a broader point - I notice that authoritarians heavily intersect with "people who can't imagine second-order effects of anything". Theoretically we should see some authoritarians who think through everything at multiple levels and mastermind a better society against all odds, but instead we keep seeing that basic thought process of "X is bad. X requires Y. So let's ban Y, boom everything's solved."

As a mistake theorist I suspect "no second order effects" is a mistake that leads many people in power to unwittingly inflict much misery on their societies.

Plenty of "cruelty is the point" signaling stuff going on too though, as Zvi says.

1ChristianKl2y
Policy is not made by single people but by institutions. In a highly authoritarian environment, the people in those institutions are not allowed to say things that would violate the party line and as a result, they are unable to really think through everything.
1Rana Dexsin2y
That's not obvious to me, and the context is uncomfortably sparse. Why do you think that is the case?

I also think that censoring that kind of statement is a reasonable thing to consider doing. But the rules seem to consistently get written in a way that does not differentiate between this and a similar true or good faith statement, and instead give power the ability to censor whatever they dislike.

This sounds to me a lot like "real X has never been tried," so my response is similar to what I'd usually say. This is what real censorship does. Censorship without falsehood is an unstable system bound to eventually reach equilibrium. Why? Because we live in a ... (read more)

Perhaps I can continue to work on transitioning away from a Covid focus towards a focus on things that now matter more, on a variety of fronts.

Thus was born the most simulacrum-1 journalist the world had ever seen. I'd love this.

I've noticed that Australians always start their defense by talking about how low their case counts have been, as if that's the only important metric in all of this. We'd optimize for different things, to say the least.

I think our policies (aside from vaccine supply!) have been consistently better than either the US or UK.

Well, that's why you're happy there and I'm happy here, I guess. Also, I think you "asided" the single most important policy out of them all.

Also, my comment was pretty clearly tongue in cheek. No, I don't actually think the fictional... (read more)

I am slightly leaning toward the belief that the story about the 11-year-old was a false flag meant to troll the media. It hits a suspicious number of talking points all in a row. But only slightly.

So in Squid Game, an imaginary hyperbolic dystopia where society's rejects face the deliberate disintegration of their humanity, they're allowed to play more childhood games than regular people in Australia in 2021...

4Zac Hatfield-Dodds2y
I live in Canberra, Australia, and this is ridiculous. * between May 2020 and August 2021, we had zero COVID cases. None whatsoever! No masks, restrictions only on concerts and other potential superspreader events, etc. Childhood games were obviously permitted, along with nightclubs and restaurants and whatever else you want to do. * with more than 90% of people 12+ fully vaccinated, restrictions are almost gone again too * even under our tightest lockdown rules, you can go outside for exercise including meeting up with a few other people, and that was a short lived restriction. * there have absolutely been stupid local policies, and the federal government has continually stuffed up quarantine and vaccine supply in ways I wouldn't have believed were possible. That said I think our policies (aside from vaccine supply!) have been consistently better than either the US or UK. * school kids have it a lot easier here than in the USA. Banning eating indoors, or permanent masks mandates, would get everyone involved fired. And finally, there are a lot of cherry picked stories about Australia being printed elsewhere for local political point-scoring, for which representativeness or even accuracy appears to be entirely unnecessary. Somehow they never acknowledge the difference in death rate or economic damage either!

Exploration-exploitation is a good model, but it doesn't tell me the personality differences I can expect to see between people who do exploration A vs. exploration B. And, exploitation is a business term and doesn't match up very well with what people are getting psychologically out of setting up comfortable limitations for themselves.

I saw Hoffer's ideas as basically true but needing nuance, because not everybody who's discontent in exactly the way he described will actually join a mass movement. And there's also tremendous variety in "individualists" that he didn't talk much about.

2cousin_it2y
Setting up comfortable limitations might be partly explained by self-handicapping:

Good point. I'll relay the author's own counter-

If you claim that a concept is not present because it is repressed, you can't lose; it is not a fair game, intellectually, because you always hold the trump card. This type of argument makes psychoanalysis seem unscientific to many people, the fact that its proponents can claim that someone denies one of their concepts because he represses his consciousness of its truth.

But repression is not a magical word for winning arguments. It is a real phenomenon, and we have been able to study many of its workings. Thi

... (read more)

Pro-vax Anti-vaxxer Gang wooo

In general, when I see someone give a whole rant that basically ends with "it's just a sad state of affairs, is all", I assume they're doing some underhanded signaling.

No one ever takes the time to write something out just because "it's sad". The thing they really want said is there in the subtext. "I'm sad because no one's surprised that our institutions suck" subtext: "Our institutions suck and it's really really obvious". But saying the latter is less sophisticated. If you want to make moves in the culture war while keeping plausible deniability, you hide the message in the subtext.

Zvi reveals the absurdity you get when you try to interpret the message at face value.

Yeah, I was pretty bothered a couple years ago when we were doing the "kids in cages" news cycle, and the red tribe people kept saying stuff along the lines of, "it's good that our policy is unpleasant, because it's a deterrent against future infractions".

Any degree of cruelty can be (correctly!) framed as a deterrent. So in general we should be really wary of those kinds of policies.

I believe vaccine mandates are primarily substitutes for destructive alternative restrictions that are worse for freedom, and those who oppose mostly think they are mostly complements that ramp up restrictions of all kinds.

That is definitely a crux, thank you for pointing that out.

or that if you’re vaccinated that’s sufficient protection that you shouldn’t care who else around you is unvaccinated.

This is 100% me. My view is: if your solution requires absolutely everyone to buy in to it - that is, it requires successful coordination across all cultur... (read more)

What does the $300 plugin do that "classic block" doesn't do? I just edit my posts inside a single classic block, which seems to be identical to the old WordPress editor, including the ability to directly edit the html.

The two sides are both trying to make the mandates look as obnoxious as possible, for different reasons.

This is such a thing, I see it all the time, and it is both completely obvious and apparently not noticed by anybody else.

When your goal is to signal to your side rather than convince the other side, and their goal is to signal rather than be convinced, you get this perverse symbiosis of everybody saying ridiculous things on purpose.

1tkpwaeub3y
Alternatively, Team Anti-Vaxx keeps prying open the Overton Window for "my" side (oops).

Absolutely, the whole blame-avoidance game would tend to make them over-cautious, but other hazards like regulatory capture (which I'm pretty sure is what happened with nutrition) threaten to make them recklessly wrong (as long as they can still find a way to avoid blame).

Your argument is that food guidelines don't drive outcomes (in America), and also that a particular set of guidelines is correct, because obviously they're driving outcomes (in Vietnam).? This argument is missing a bunch of pieces.

In any case, if you believe the food pyramid is great for Americans, I'm not interested in convincing you otherwise, so feel free to ignore my point.

2CraigMichael3y
My argument is that guidelines are treated as a scapegoat and that they're largely unrelated to outcomes, in both America and Vietnam.  The real difference here, between America and Vietnam, is the prevalence and consumption of highly palatable foods.  Actually, yeah... I would say just about every American alive would be healthier if they strictly followed the macros and calorie intakes recommended by the USDA (there would be some exceptions for people with specific food allergies and the like), and I've never seen any evidence to the contrary.  Even if Americans understand them, most Americans don't follow them because self-control is hard and it's harder in an environment with abundances of cheap and highly palatable food, so virtually no Americans follow the USDA guidelines with any significant level of compliance. I would say Stephan Guyenet hypotheses about obesity are basically correct, and his critiques of fad diets are almost as good. 

Also, if one is forced to get a medical procedure that one doesn't want, purely because they didn't have the amount of money that's required for bodily autonomy in their society, then yeah, I would call that "degrading" and a bunch of other stuff. A company is right to mandate what it wants for its employees, but it is not "hyperbolic language" to call some of that treatment degrading.

Am I the only one here who can easily relate to that twitter guy's sentiment? Do rationalists not value the whole "dignity of autonomy" thing as an end in itself?

3sudoLife3y
In Lithuania, a bill has been passed that denies the unvaccinated rights to: 1. non-essential stores 2. stores, whose area is over 1500 sqm 3. beauty salons 4. library 5. small repair services > 15 mins of time 6. any  indoors cultural / sports / celebration events 7. outdoors events > 500 people And their main slogan is "Turn your shoulder - become free!" While these actions are supposed to be coercive, I feel they're doing much the opposite. And it makes non-swayed judgement really hard.

Here's what Zvi is missing on (D):

I think both that the vaccines are safe and effective based on the evidence, and also that if the evidence did not strongly say they were safe and effective, we wouldn’t be contemplating such policies.

Does "we" refer to the same institutions that got nutrition entirely wrong for decades at a time, both at the micro level (individual foods) and macro level (food groups), whose entirely-wrong takes were taught in schools nationwide? I'm feeling way too much Gel-Mann skepticism here to say "yeah thankfully the powers-that-be ... (read more)

2Forged Invariant3y
I had not noticed my own Gel-Mann amnesia when reading that bit, and therefore find your response quite convincing. I had thought that Ziv's answer to (D) made sense due to the FDA being over-cautious about approving things, but both the scope of the precedent and the kinds/directions of errors had not registered with me.
1CraigMichael3y
Have you ever met anyone that ACTUALLY TO THE LETTER follows the food pyramid? Or is it more like “I ate less fat but more sugar and I’m not healthy?” Vietnam is the thinnest nation in the world, have a look at the link if you want to see their dietary guidelines and tell me if they look familiar. http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/vietnam/en/
5PatrickDFarley3y
Also, if one is forced to get a medical procedure that one doesn't want, purely because they didn't have the amount of money that's required for bodily autonomy in their society, then yeah, I would call that "degrading" and a bunch of other stuff. A company is right to mandate what it wants for its employees, but it is not "hyperbolic language" to call some of that treatment degrading. Am I the only one here who can easily relate to that twitter guy's sentiment? Do rationalists not value the whole "dignity of autonomy" thing as an end in itself?

At this point I (and I think most people) assume we will eventually know the origin of covid, with reasons that correctly model the physical world. I'm willing to sit back and wait for the more dedicated researchers to bring that answer to light.

The more pressing question for many of us is - why did "they" try so hard to prevent us from considering the lab hypothesis in the first place? And why did they use shame and guilt-by-association instead of ever telling us some physical facts that refute the lab hypothesis?

Yeah "bad" is like "don't climb the ladder or we get the hose". 

People would often reduce their own prize if it means that their opponent's is reduced more.

This tells me we care more about relative status than absolute. See: anyone saying anything remotely critical of capitalism in the 21st century in the United States.

This poll asked people if they did "malicious online activity directed at somebody they didn't know"

You mean the default way to gain status on Twitter?

But yes, pure cruelty does exist. What of the fact that chimpanzees are cruel but have no concept of evil? This tells me maybe cruelty serves a sel... (read more)

1Saran3y
But... how do you know that chimpanzees have no concept of evil?

not just about the probability you think something is true, but an estimate of your confidence, in some quantitative way?

I don't think these are actually different things.

The coin example is misleading. Your confidence in the next toss being heads is exactly the same as any other independent 50% bet. Your confidence that "this is a fair coin", which could be approximated by, say, getting between 45-55 heads in the next 100 tosses, is a different bet and will give a different answer than 50%.

Huh I think the linkpost didn't fully work

[This comment is no longer endorsed by its author]Reply
1Jan Christian Refsgaard3y
What's wrong with it?, I am linking to the source material, should i only link if its a 100% copy?
1[comment deleted]3y

Isn't that true of all property though?

Ownership is not an innate property of physical objects. It's just saying that the government will use force etc.

5River3y
It's true that all notions of property involve some kind of social norm to enforce, usually a social norm in the form of a law backed by government force. What's different is that in the case of literal property, the scarcity is already out there in the world before the government shows up. It is a fact of the world, independent of social norms, that there is only one of each physical thing. If more than one person wants to decide what to do with a given physical thing, then there is an inherent conflict there. All the government is doing is stepping in to resolve that conflict. Intellectual property is different, which is why I say it is only a metaphor. With intellectual property, the scarcity is not out there in the world, it is created by the government. My copying your computer code to my hard drive and running it on my processor doesn't deprive you of your hard drive, your processor, or even your code. You can still run your copy of your code, you haven't lost anything. The scarcity isn't a fact of the world, there is no conflict until the government comes in and tells me to stop. And creating artificial scarcity is just an objectively bad thing to do. Especially when the thing you are artificially making scarce is a life-saving vaccine.

I had that same question. But is there a middle ground, where these companies wouldn't enforce parents during a global emergency, but would expect to profit from the patents once the emergency is over? And that this expectation of delayed profits is a factor in their original decision to innovate?

1[anonymous]3y
It's always an emergency, lives are always at stake. That's just the nature of the pharmaceutical business. 

Love and value your posts as always. One point of contention:

They talk about this later on, saying that conservatives need to have their autonomy respected. People aren’t stupid. Either something is optional, and they have a choice, or it isn’t and they don’t. You can try to send both messages but you’ll fail. 

Doesn't this basically deny the entire phenomenon of persuasion? "Pure persuasion", let's call it, where you don't improve the material incentives at all, but nevertheless you get the person to do the thing. I believe this is a skill that exists... (read more)

Coercion concern:

Shouldn't we think about the counterfactual where the vaccine is not completely safe and healthy? What happens next time, when the thing is even more tribal-affiliated, such that the tribe in power won't be upfront about the downsides of it? I don't want a world where politics & power incentivize what medical procedures I should/shouldn't get. I'd love to keep those spheres as separate as possible.

And that's where I'm confused - because it's conveniently very possible to keep them separate in this case: the vaccine works on individuals... (read more)

3tkpwaeub3y
I've been thinking about this too. Say we let  Bp(V)= expected net personal benefit of getting vaccinated Bc(V)= expected net collective benefit of getting vaccinated. It's possible to imagine a scenario where the former is negative and the latter is positive. That would leave us with a genuine "free rider" problem, and a rather high-stakes one at that. The most prosaic solution to such problems is to pay people to do the thing that they wouldn't otherwise do rationally.  I don't think there's anything terribly objectionable about the government incentivizing people to take on personal risks they wouldn't otherwise take. After all, there are lots of government jobs which are inherently dangerous - and the government "incentivizes" them by paying people decent sums of money. 

your father already knows you got a C-, told you that you’d better not pretend you got a C-,

Second C- should be C+

few will choose to have their wealth made visible to all, because the only advantage it brings is signalling, a thing they won't admit even to themselves that they care about much

"Accountability" is the word normal people use when referring to pursuing success though conspicuous signaling. People already do opt in to "accountability" for different goals they have. I think the main reason they won't do it with wealth is for privacy.

I assume you've read Zvi's Choices are bad?

I'm like you, with the agonizing cost/benefit spreadsheets, and lately I try to remind myself that "choices are bad", which implies that the act of making a choice at all (and moving on) has an inherent positive bias to it, because it frees you from what could become a miserable sunk-cost feedback loop ("I've spent so much time on this already, so I'd really better make the optimal decision now, but to do that I'll need more time...").

Also, I know offhand what my salary comes down to per hour, so I use that as a rule of thumb when deciding how much time to spend on a decision (given how much value is at stake in the decision).

You can't Only ask questions that will support your beliefs.

Questions can't support beliefs. Answers support beliefs (or don't). What exactly are you asking?

For those looking for a way to talk about this with outsiders, I'd propose "unconditional beliefs" as a decent synonym that most people will intuitively understand.

"Do you hold X as an unconditional belief?"

3Yoav Ravid3y
"What do you mean unconditional belief?" "A thought that doesn't really change even when you see stuff that should change it. Like fearing dogs even after seeing lots of cute dogs"

How could you not use comment quality as feedback? Often the alternative is no feedback at all

2Austin Chen3y
Of course, comment quality is an input into your overall feedback. But not the only input, and importantly not the main one, I think. (By "comment" here I'm thinking of "random internet strangers saying things about your article, eg here on Lesswrong.") There are so many other sources of feedback, including: * how you yourself judge the article * feedback from people you trust * reshares, link backs, quotes of the article * up votes, views Which I think should combine for a holistic evaluation of how well your particular article was received. Comments may be one of the easier metrics, but leaning on it too heavily runs afoul of "drunk looking under streetlight for keys"

I thought the bit about indirectly screening your commenters was very clever. I haven't written enough to know if it works the way you described, but it sounds very plausible

Is this actually an existing tribe? I feel like the traits in this list have zero correlation.

1mike_hawke3y
Yes, it's a real fictional tribe. If you don't believe me, just go hang out in the Plagueis Plain for a while. There's also a big exclave of them in Hypothetistan, if that's closer to you.
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